any of several plants regarded as turning with the movement of the sun.
a European plant, Chrozophora tinctoria, of the spurge family, yielding a purple dye.
the purple dye prepared from this plant; litmus.

Origin of turnsole

1325–75; Middle English turnesole < Middle French tournesol the dye < Italian tornasole the plant, literally, (it) turns (toward the) sun, on the model of Greek hēliotrópion heliotrope
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Historical Examples of turnsole

British Dictionary definitions for turnsole



any of various plants having flowers that are said to turn towards the sun
a euphorbiaceous plant, Croton tinctoria, of the Mediterranean region that yields a purple dye
the dye extracted from this plant

Word Origin for turnsole

C14: from Old French tournesole, from Old Italian tornasole, from tornare to turn + sole sun, from Latin sōl sun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012